A bunch of events before the month ends this weekend including Sunz of Sankofa and Montclair’s own Samantha Bussey and the Union Baptist Male Choir, tomorrow (Friday, 2/27). Also tomorrow, St. Paul Baptist Church on Elm Street hosts its annual celebration. From 7-9 p.m. enjoy three performance workshops featuring tap dance, jazz and call and response singing. On Saturday, head over to the Montclair Public Library, for events beginning at noon that include performances by the African Dance Theater & Education Center of Irvington and jazz vocalists Denise Hamilton and Yvette Glover. There’s also an African market from noon to 1 p.m. in the cafe and Black History exhibits on the first and third floors.
Also at the Montclair library, catch Daughters of The Dust, the 1991 indie that tells the story of generations of Gullah women, on Sunday, March 1, at 2:30 p.m..

Liz George is the publisher of Montclair Local. liz@montclairlocal.news

32 replies on “Celebrate Black History Month”

  1. Perhaps, considering the fact that we have an African American president, the idea of a ‘Black History Month’ is becoming slightly anachronistic. I’m not advocating it’s dissolution. I just wonder if anyone is actually getting any genuine value from this concept anymore.
    I think we can safely say that racism of all stripes will never disappear, at least not in our lifetimes, but at the same time, we can all safely say that, in this country, if you are willing to work for it, you can achieve just about anything.

  2. Nellie,
    Good idea! I’m part Irish and I don’t know ‘jack’ about my ‘peeps’. Croaigusanam could be the content manager for this initiative and Cathar and Conan could assist.
    Anyone up for a brewski?

  3. I am not Irish. But I did play in an Irish band in Boston and I may stay at a Holiday Inn Express sometime in the near future, so I am totally behind Nellie and Brush (as long as they are buying). Slainte!

  4. I used to really like Woolaver’s Pale Ale. I think it was 8-9% alcohol. Good God, two of those and my teeth went numb, followed closely by my brain.

  5. Thank you, Mellon. I agree, it needs a rethink. As a progressive and liberal and open minded town, where blacks and whites live in relative racial harmony, we should lead the way toward a truly colorblind educational system, in which kids learn about people not because of the color of their skin, but because of their impact on history.

  6. “truly colorblind education system”
    I don’t think that’s possible. The history of Blacks and Whites are very, very different. On a whole our lives and communities are still very separated. There has been many positives steps forward but we still have a long way to.

  7. “There has been many positives steps forward but we still have a long way to.”
    Might I be so bold as to suggest the next step involve grammar?

  8. Tonight, Gil Noble, of Montclair, producer and host of WABC’s program, “Like It Is”, will be doing a special Black History Month presentation at the monthly Montclair NAACP Meeting at the Owen Cathings Suite at Glenfield School. The presentation is open to the public.
    Mr. Noble certainly made history in Montclair when he did a special transmission from 180 Bloomfield Avenue, when local artist, Don Miller was painting his Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Mural for the National Library of Washington, D.C.
    “Many of Dr. King’s closest associates came to Mr. Miller’s studio on August 27, 1985, to participate in an extraordinary taping for (Montclair resident) Gil Noble’s ABC-TV Show, “Like It Is.” In the artist’s studio setting using the Mural as a backdrop, for five hours they shared their experiences with Dr. King , and his important influence on their lives. The evolution of the Mural was not only witnessed by local friends and associates but also by many of the historic civil rights leaders who are portrayed. Mrs. Rosa Parks, the heroine of the Montgomery Bus Boycott made a pilgrimage to the Montclair studio, as did Dr. Caroline Goodman, the mother of the slain CORE worker Andrew Goodman, Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, Mrs. Dorothy Cotton from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Atlanta’s Mayor Andrew Young, Rev C.T. Vivian and Rev Wyatt Tee Walker. Celebrities, visited like the great American pianist Don Shirley whose elegant music often served as an inspiration for the artist.”

  9. Be careful what you wish for re dannyboor, jerseygurl, lest he take it as an open invitation to “instruct” us all again.
    He strikes me as someone who took a Black Studies course in college and can’t let anyone else forget it. Either that or he read an Iceberg Slim novel at some point. Or maybe he just once saw a double bill of “Superfly” and “Black Caesar.
    Anyway, if we’re to have an Irish History Month, as someone suggested above, I’ll offer myself up, albeit reluctantly, to teach a course on prat and how it affects whiskey. From Tullamore Dew to Michael Collins to Middleton’s to Paddy’s to Old Bushmills to Jameson’s, and this “train” promises to make every stop!
    After that, we’ll make fun of the overrated James Joyce and instead read John O’Hara.

  10. I meant “peat.”
    But mikey, you’re a prat! And you’re even worse when you;re indulging in sanctimony, as above.

  11. I think if the history taught in educational systems were more inclusive, then it would be fine to do away with Black History Month. MHS did a decent job with African-American history, February or otherwise, but not much was mentioned about Native American history (except as it related to European settlers), Asian-American history, Irish, or etc.

  12. That you post here absolutely straightfacedly, mikey, is a solid indication of how far we’ve all really come in terms of equality for all.
    I know you don’t understand that, but still….

  13. Cathar, thanks for hopping on the Irish History Bandwagon. A mug of Harp and Cathar talking about whiskey–Sounds like a plan!

  14. Until we achieve equality, unity and justice, we shall continue to condescend to blacks by setting aside a month to talk about how much they might have done if only white people had let them. Sounds good!

  15. We’ll need a good deal more than a month if we’re going to dig deep into Irish history.
    you’d need the summer just to go over my family’s story!
    We’ll form a group, knowing full well that, as Frank McCourt said, the first item on the agenda for any Irish group is the split.

  16. walleroo summed it up nicely with “Until we achieve equality, unity and justice, we shall continue to condescend to blacks by setting aside a month to talk about how much they might have done if only white people had let them. Sounds good!”
    Nothing more I can add that some of you would try to understand anyway.
    Like Neely Fuller said, “If you do not understand White Supremacy-what it is and how it works-everything else will only confuse you.”
    Sadly, white American writ large thinks white supremacy begins and ends with a white hood. My wish would be that everyone read Baldwin’s “The Price of the Ticket” or Wise’s “White Like Me” for Black History Month.
    At the very least, we could surely give them a 31 day month instead of the shortest one on the calendar.

  17. Chris Rock said it much better, and much sooner, than you did dannyboor.
    Thank you so much for providing those helpful reading selections! Please feel free to offer more titles, so that we may all soem day reach your level of understanding. Never mind that some might say you’re a pretentious pedant — don’t let that discourage you from bringing the light into the darkness. I still glow with pride having gleaned so much from your earlier discourse on Papal encyclicals.
    You’re a treasue indeed! Since no one else wants to thank you for being here, let me be the first!

  18. Glad to help cro! With a little time and hard work, you’ll eventually “get it”. Keep chipping away at it! One day when you’re in the minority group of this country, I’m sure those in the majority will see your efforts and treat you better than your people have treated them.
    Perhaps for Irish history month, we can also learn more about that model of Scots-Irish descent, Andrew Jackson, who supervised the mutilation of over 800 Indian corpses after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, at which time his men cut off noses and sliced strips of flesh from the bodies for use as bridle reins. Yeah! Erin Go Bragh!

  19. Jackson’s folks did far worse to their own back home, dannydolt. Barbarism has been a mainstay in all human societies throughout history.
    Even those nice, brown Sioux had a wonderful time piercing the ears of the dead 7th Cav soldiers of Custer’s regiment, prior to slicing off lips and other more “personal” parts. the ears were pierced so that the soldiers would listen to warnings, like those they’d received from the Sioux, in the next life.
    Your ignorance on virtually fronts, including that area concerned with my own history, is simply a scream. I can honestly say that P.G. Wodehouse himself could not create a bigger gasbag than you are.

  20. I have an idea, dannyboor. Let’s give them every month!
    It will be interesting to see, as our kids get older, what they take away from the indoctrination they get in Montclair schools–this goes well beyond Black History Month–and what it will take to peel their impressionable minds off the pablum these special remembrances invariably generate.

  21. For those of you who don’t get the concept of Black History Month, try spending a month with a poor black inner city familiy, and try to map the family history going back a few generations. Then try doing the same thing with a poor white family.
    After, do the same with a wealthy black and white family. If that doesn’t give you some insight, then perhaps continued “ignorance” is easier for you to stomach or …
    There is a difference between being disadvantaged, and being systematically, economically, socially, politically and educationally disenfranchised for hundreds of years. There has been lots of progress recently, but by asking black people to “get over it and move on” or making a “little fun” at the idea of Black History Month is just a continuation of the way their lives were trivialized in the past.

  22. bajan,
    I tried, but could not get your point regarding asking folks about their history and getting some “insight” into the “need” for Black History Month.
    Likewise, you conflate being “being systematically, economically, socially, politically and educationally disenfranchised for hundreds of years” with this need to have a 28 day focus on the accomplishments of Black folks.
    Because until the black family stays intact (and stays in school, and staying out of judicial trouble, etc.) you can have 100 day celebration and it won’t matter.

  23. I appreciate the effort prof. The reason for Black History Month in my mind is not just a celebration, but a small effort to show the youth who don’t stay in school or out of youth institutions that there is something bigger than instant gratification that defines being black. There is a school of thought that thinks providing positive examples can affect behavior. Some youth need to know that were people who suffered and fought, people who were intelligent and rose above the odds to acheive. To me, this is what Black History Month is really about. The point about the difference in the history of racial backgrounds regardless of current social standing, is that some of the choices that normally drive our lot in life weren’t present for the black familiy. The choice to become a hunter or a lawyer, to go to school or work, to live in the woods or the city, etc was absent. The lack of choice is part of the African American’s heritage. The only time in recent history that there were mass forced positions placed on the majority was during the Great Depression. Even then, the depression acted more as an economic equalizer than addressor of ingrained social injustice. All these factors may have something to do with why some of these kids walk around nowadays not understanding that they have a choice. You know…not understanding that the same intelligence needed to be a gang leader may have some transferrable value in the business place. They are just not aware that option is attainable. Not that all of them would make the switch mind you. btw – I didn’t buy into the whole psychological argument before…but my wife (the therapist) put me straight.
    I also agree wholehartedly with your assesment of how the solution would manifest…it’s just that I think the path may require more time and effort than we sometimes acknowledge.

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